Chateau Ste. Michelle library tasting to feature red winemaking transition

By on February 13, 2013

WOODINVILLE, Wash. – Chateau Ste. Michelle will give fans a snapshot of three of Washington’s top winemakers on March 3 when it stages its first public vertical tasting of library wines for 2013.

As wine lovers age, they seem to gain a better appreciation for library wines, which explains why Chateau Ste. Michelle has a created a following for these special events that give people an education and opportunity to taste properly protected wines pulled from the winery’s cellar.

Chateau Ste. Michelle

Chateau Ste. Michelle will stage a public vertical tasting of its 2003, 2004 and 2005 Ethos — the reserve tier for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

“This is our first vertical tasting of 2013 and we hope to host two more this year,” said Lynda Eller, communications director for Chateau Ste. Michelle. “Sometimes, a winemaker is able to attend. These are a great way to showcase the ageability of Washington wine and our estate vineyards and Ethos Reserve tier of wines.”

The vertical tastings are determined throughout the year by the availability of library wines, Eller said.

Next month’s tasting will feature the Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Ethos Reserve Syrah from 2003, 2004, and 2005 vintages, and it may provide a fascination period of transition for the Woodinville giant.

The 2003 vintage marked the fifth and final crush at Chateau Ste. Michelle for winemaker Ron Bunnell, who continues to enjoy success – particularly with Syrah – at Bunnell Family Cellar in Prosser, Wash.

Bob Bertheau took over as Chateau Ste. Michelle’s head winemaker in 2004 – a position he maintains today.

Joshua Maloney began making the red wines for Bertheau in 2005. Two years ago, Maloney left to work for the Milbrandt brothers at Wahluke Wine Co. in Mattawa.

Cost is $30 for the 2 1/2 hour event, the wines will be paired with special cheeses. The pouring begins at 1 p.m. Advance purchase is required, and these library tastings do sell out.

“Overall, we host 50-90 wine and culinary events a year during the winter and spring, plus the  Summer Concert Series,” Eller said. “Our events cater to guests with varying wine knowledge as well as experiences planned specifically for our Vintage Reserve Wine Club members. Our wine experiences include Chef
dinners, Halloween party, Sip and Savor pairing events, Wine 101 classes and Vertical Tastings.”

Each year, Chateau Ste. Michelle draws more than 300,000 visitors, making it one of the most popular touring destinations in the state.

“Our Stay-Cation event in May features a luxury car show, up to 10 of Seattle’s hottest food trucks and, of course, wine,” Eller said. “We also hold July 4th and Labor Day events (on the Sunday of the weekend) that also bring about 2,000 guests and include more than 25 artists with items to purchase, live music and wine.”

Click here for a look at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 2013 calendar.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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